Release Guide: Preparing for Release Day

March 9, 2023

Our tools are here to help you attract the biggest possible audience to your new music.

When you’ve put your heart and soul into creating a song or album, the next step is maximizing its release potential. A lot of this comes down to smart preparation and knowing exactly how your promotional plan will be executed. The more prepared you are for that big release, the more likely it is that you’ll see streams, listeners, and followers come pouring in.

Of course, this is never as easy as it sounds, so our resources and tools have been designed to help you draw attention to you and your release, and hold onto that attention once you have it.

Here are 12 tips to help you get ready for release day and stay on top after your release goes live:

1. Pitch your release for playlist consideration

We’ve heard many success stories from artists who’ve pitched a song to our playlist pitch tool. They’ve watched their streams and followers skyrocket after being featured on one of Spotify’s editorially curated playlists. In 2022, more than 275,000 artists were added to at least one editorial playlist.

To increase your chances of landing one of these spots, pitch a song for playlist consideration at least seven days before its release date. When pitching a track, be sure to add key details about the song, like genre and mood, to improve the likelihood that it’ll land on the most suitable playlist. Once pitched, our editorial team will see if it’s the right fit. Learn how to pitch your music here, and learn more about all the ways your music gets discovered on Spotify here.

2. Refresh your artist profile

A first impression is everything – it can be just as powerful as the music itself. Think about what people are looking for when they see your artist profile and click on your name: They want to know who you are, where you came from, and what you’ve done so far. Start by making your artist image pop, and consider uploading new promo shots or behind-the-scenes snaps to your image gallery. Make sure your bio is fresh and current and link all of your social media handles. Add a Fan Support link so fans can support you or a cause. List artist playlists to encourage fans to go deeper in your discography or your inspirations.

3. Add a Canvas to your track

You can now add Canvas - a three to eight-second looping visual - to your tracks before release day. Head to the Music tab in Spotify for Artists, click on "Upcoming," then click the plus sign next to the song you want to add a Canvas to. Your Canvas will loop when listeners stream your song — and it also appears on Instagram and Snapchat when fans share your track. (After release day, you can change your Canvas at any time by clicking on the song in the Music tab.) Quality Canvases have shown to increase track streams, shares, and saves on average, so it’s a great way to keep your fans engaged.

4. Keep building your Spotify followers

Your fans are eager to hear your new music first, so make sure you use your website and social media profiles to encourage your listeners to follow you on Spotify so they can hear your new release on their personalized Release Radar playlists and What’s New feeds. The way our Release Radar system works means that if you have 100,000 followers on Spotify, you’ll automatically be featured on 100,000 playlists the week of your release. Not bad, right?

5. Sell your merch alongside your music

Just like fans can’t resist the merch table after an incredible concert, listeners are primed to love your merch right as they’re falling in love with your music on Spotify. Merch is a key part of your release strategy because more than half of all merch clicks on Spotify come in the first 24 days after a new release. With our Shopify integration, you can easily list all your merch and feature your top three items on your artist profile. Plus, if you tag merch items with the relevant release through Spotify for Artists, merch will appear on those single and album pages, and even on the "Now Playing" view while fans are streaming the track.

6. Consider a Marquee

Marketing new music is all about targeting the right listeners, reaching them at the right moments, and measuring the impact. But today artists and their teams are often promoting releases on social media — platforms that weren't made for streaming music. That’s why we launched Marquee – a full-screen, sponsored recommendation of your new single, EP, or album to Spotify Free and Premium listeners who have shown interest in your music and have the potential to listen more.

Marquee reaches listeners when and where it matters: right when they open the Spotify app and are deciding what to stream. After each campaign, we report how listeners engaged with the new release after seeing a Marquee. In a recent study with eight labels and distributors, we found that Marquee is 10x more cost-effective than similar social ads at driving Spotify listeners. Learn how to set up your Marquee campaign (within 21 days pre-release or 18 days post-release) here.

You made it to release day and your new music is launched. But the work doesn’t stop here. Follow these steps once your release is live:

7. Update your Artist Pick

One of the first things listeners see when visiting your artist profile is your Artist Pick, so this is a great place to highlight that new single or album. Plus, it keeps your profile page looking fresh and up to date. Want to mix it up? You’ve got options. You can select a single, album, playlist, podcast, or one of your upcoming concerts as your Artist Pick. Learn how to add a Pick in this video. Pro tip: Add a bit of text to personalize your profile even more.

8. Share your new music on social media

We try to make sharing your music outside Spotify as easy as possible. On the Spotify app, just open the share menu when listening to your track or album, and you can easily share to Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, or any messaging service. When you share to Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, or Snapchat through Spotify, your viewers will be able to simply swipe up to listen to content. While you’re at it, pop the link to your new track or album in your social bios.

Looking for easy visual assets to make your social posts pop? Create a custom Promo Card spotlighting your artist profile, a track, an album, a playlist placement, or a milestone. You can download the Promo Card to upload to any platform — or use the generated short link, which will redirect to your selected content.

9. Track real-time streams on the mobile app

Download the Spotify for Artists mobile app to monitor your real-time streams during the first seven days after a new release goes live on Spotify. Just click on the Stats tab at the bottom of your screen once you’re in the app. The count updates every 1.5 seconds, so you can track your numbers from the moment your release hits the service. These numbers are immensely valuable as you track a song or album’s impact over the first week.

10. Check back in a week to see your stats

A week after your release date is a perfect time to dive into the numbers. Check your Audience page on Spotify for Artists to see how your listen, stream, and follower counts were impacted by your release, and check out source of streams data to see how listeners found you. If you have earlier releases, compare their performance on your Music page. All of these insights are there to help you tweak and optimize your release strategy going forward.

11. Take advantage of Spotify for Artists resources

For the past couple of years we’ve been busy building a database of articles and videos to help you in your career.

Our resources are here to make sure you’re aware of every avenue available to make your music take flight.

12. Stay confident

Each of these steps is easy to implement, and that’s intentional: The goal is to help you confidently prepare for a successful release day. But it’s important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Just like with your art, building a career and making meaningful connections that convert your listeners to fans is a process that takes time. Stay steady with your creative vision, keep plugging away, and as Cyndi Lauper counsels: "You can't really judge yourself. You just have to do it!"

Spotify for Artists helps you to develop the fanbase you need to reach your goals.

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